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As the Bundesliga resumes for the 2016-17 campaign, talk has inevitably turned to the battle for supremacy between champions Bayern Munich and their nearest challengers, Borussia Dortmund.

Moreover, great intrigue surrounds the transfer business the two clubs have done with one another this summer. Bayern have snatched Dortmund’s captain and star defender Mats Hummels, while BVB have manufactured a Signal Iduna Park return for Mario Götze, who controversially left the club to join the Bavarians in 2013.

Dortmund have also signed reliable 25-year-old central midfielder Sebastian Rode from Bayern for around £10 million.

But aside from these headline grabbing deals, there has been some fantastic work done throughout the Bundesliga this transfer window, and here are the five new signings to keep an eye on as the new season commences.

Kevin Volland – Bayer Leverkusen

After four impressive seasons with Hoffenheim – in which he twice broke double figures for goals scored in a season for Die Kraichgauer – 24-year-old striker Kevin Volland has joined Bayer Leverkusen for €18 million.

The hefty fee has set a new club record for Leverkusen, so what are they getting for their money?

Volland is a strong and powerful striker with a tireless work ethic and a calm finesse in front of goal.

That work ethic will be key to fitting in at the BayArena, as manager Roger Schmidt demands that his team press their opposition relentlessly throughout 90 minutes.

A full international with six caps for Germany, Volland is yet to register a goal for Die Mannschaft. But the former 1860 Munich player’s pedigree was evident at under-21 level, where he netted 11 times in 22 games. He also demonstrated his leadership skills when captaining the German side at the 2015 Under-21 European Championship, where he finished as the second highest scorer and was named in the team of the tournament.

With his industry and creativity, Leverkusen fans will be hoping Volland turns out to be the perfect partner for Javier “Chicharito” Hernández.

Ousmane Dembélé – Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund have been extremely busy in the transfer market this summer; the loss of Hummels, Ilkay Gündoğan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been offset by the arrivals of Götze from Bayern, record signing André Schürrle from Wolfsburg and Marc Bartra from Barcelona.

In addition to the more experienced, ready-made incomings, BVB have also signed a raft of young players with huge future potential. The most exciting of which is French winger Ousmane Dembélé, who has been brought in from Rennes for £12.75 million.

Dembélé only made his senior debut for Rennes in November last year, but the teenager immediately became a key player for the Ligue 1 club, as he went on to net 12 goals and register five assists.

The 19-year-old is genuinely two-footed, and able to play on either wing or centrally as a number 10. With his blistering pace and bamboozling dribbling ability, Dembélé is widely regarded as one of the future stars of the world game. Dortmund’s capture of the youngster represents a real coup and, despite his tender years, he is capable of helping BVB close the gap on Bayern this season.

Breel Embolo – Schalke

Swiss forward Breel Embolo was linked strongly with moves to Manchester United and Bundesliga newcomers RB Leipzig earlier this summer. But, with a bid of €20 million plus add-ons, it was Schalke who secured the signature of the exciting Basel player.

Embolo featured heavily for Switzerland at Euro 2016, playing on the right-wing and demonstrating his pace, directness and impressive physicality. The 19-year-old is equally comfortable playing centrally as a striker, and possesses strong finishing skills and the eye for a pass of a much more experienced player.

Though still in his teens, Embolo has already racked up over 80 senior appearances for Basel, and has scored 30 goals for the Swiss club.

Embolo’s versatility will prove a useful asset for Schalke this season, where he will be expected to play on the right-wing following the loss of Leroy Sané to Manchester City, while also offering an alternative to Dutch veteran Klaas-Jan Huntelaar up front.

Renato Sanches – Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich have not made many moves this summer, with only two new players coming through the door at the Allianz Arena. The first, Mats Hummels, is very much one for the here and now, who will be expected to come straight in to the starting line-up and improve the team.

The other is one for the future, but whose impressive maturity could see him having a big impact much sooner than anticipated.

Renato Sanches has been signed from Benfica for €35 million plus a string off add-ons that could see the eventual cost sky-rocketing beyond the €60 million mark.

But the monumental fee could come to represent a bargain for Bayern if Sanches delivers on his immense early promise. Much like Dembélé, Sanches has less than one full season of senior football under his belt, but he has already played a key role in Benfica’s Portuguese title triumph, as well as his country’s first ever major trophy at Euro 2016.

Sanches, a central midfielder, is blessed with explosive pace over short distances, a rocket of a left foot, and is so positionally aware that it is hard to believe that he has only just turned 19. Although at his best in a box-to-box role, Sanches is also able to fill in out wide or as a dedicated defensive midfielder.

Sanches is set to develop into one of the best midfield players on the planet over the next few years, and at Bayern, under Carlo Ancelotti, there is no better place for him to grow.

Mario Gomez – Wolfsburg

Mario Gomez’s Bundesliga record is outstanding: 63 goals in 121 appearances over six seasons with Stuttgart – including a title win in 2007 – and 75 in 115 for Bayern Munich, with two league titles and a Champions League in four years.

But the veteran poacher struggled to find his best form upon joining Fiorentina for €20 million in 2013, scoring only seven Serie A goals in two seasons.

A loan spell in Turkey last season proved to be the tonic for restoring Gomez to his former glories, however, as he helped Besiktas to Super Lig success, becoming the league’s top scorer with 26 goals in the process.

Now, the man who was once the most expensive player in Bundesliga history after joining Bayern for €35 million in 2009, has moved back to Germany to join Wolfsburg in a deal worth around £6 million.

At 31, Gomez still has plenty of gas in the tank. And although he’ll never be the quickest or most dynamic striker around, the 68-cap Germany international still knows where the net is.

About the author – Ryan Baldi

Ryan is a Midlands based freelance sports writer specialising in European football. He has been fascinated with the continental game ever since he was presented with his first football kit at the age of 7 years old whilst on holiday in Spain – a Barcelona shirt with ‘Romario 10’ printed on the back. A contributor to numerous footballing websites, Ryan has also covered martial arts for local and national print publications.

Twitter:  @RyanBaldiEFB

 

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Amid all of the chaos that is the summer transfer window, spare a thought for Thomas Tuchel. The Borussia Dortmund manager took the reins at Signal Iduna Park last year and — after inheriting a side low on confidence, that had finished seventh in the previous Bundesliga campaign – rejuvenated BVB and transformed them back into title contenders.

And just as the former Mainz 05 coach would have been planning a summer holiday in which he could put his feet up and admire his 12 months of handy-work, the exodus began.

Captain Mats Hummels announced his desire to return to Bayern Munich, midfielder Ilkay Gündoğan joined Manchester City, and playmaker extraordinaire Henrikh Mkhitaryan forced a move to Manchester United.

Three of the players around which Tuchel had built his new-look Dortmund side, gone. A team which had finished runners-up in the title race to Pep Guardiola’s Bayern, with a points tally of 78 – which would have been enough to secure first place in all but four seasons in Bundesliga history – had been dismantled.

But rather than sit around and lick their wounds, Dortmund immediately set around rebuilding the pieces of their shattered side, by acquiring some of the brightest young talents on the continent, as well as a couple of experienced heads to steady the ship.

In has come Sebastian Rode from Bayern, and Marc Bartra from FC Barcelona. Rode is a workmanlike midfielder with plenty of Bundesliga experience. He will be unlikely to pull up trees with his performances, but he is tactically astute and won’t let Tuchel down.

Bartra, now 25, is a full international for Spain, and a product of Barça’s famed La Masia youth academy. Although undoubtedly a downgrade in overall quality when compared with Hummels, Bartra’s ability to bring the ball out of defence and pass forward accurately will mean that Dortmund can usher in the post-Hummels era with little need for a tactical rethink.

Another Spaniard, 20-year-old Mikel Merino, has been signed from Osasuna. Much like Julian Weigl, who moved to Dortmund last summer after captaining 1860 Munich in the Bundesliga 2 at the same age, Merino has been a regular for Osasuna in the Spanish Segunda División for the last two seasons. Tuchel will likely use the 6ft 2in midfielder sparingly next season, but he has been recruited because his skill-set and temperament will allow him to transition to top-flight football with ease

Left-back Raphaël Guerrero has already got BVB fans excited by the prospect of seeing him in the famous yellow shirt next season, thanks to his impressive displays for Portugal at Euro 2016. The 22-year-old has been signed from Lorient, where he was consistently excellent last season. Blessed with pace, skill and a wand of a left foot, the young Portuguese is regarded as one of the finest young full-backs in Europe, and will provide competition for long-time fan-favourite Marcel Schmelzer on the left side of Dortmund’s defence.

Emre Mor has been playing senior football for less than a year, but already the 18-year-old has appeared for Turkey at the European Championship and sealed a move to BVB.

Mor is a pacey, skilful winger who, despite his small stature, in unafraid to take a leading role in his team’s attacks. Signed from Danish side FC Nordsjælland, Mor is another player who is likely to be introduced gradually to first-team action, but the gifted youngster has all the attributes to succeed in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund’s most exciting summer recruit, and perhaps one of the coups of this transfer window, is Ousmane Dembélé, who has been signed from Rennes for a fee in the region of £12 million.

The 19-year-old Frenchman, like Mor, only made his professional debut last season. But that didn’t stop Dembélé from setting Ligue 1 alight with a series of dazzling displays. The Vernon-born youngster is genuinely two-footed, meaning his defence-shredding dribbles are completely unpredictable for opposing defenders, as he is able to move sharply in either direction.

With his 12 goals and five assists in the French top league last season, Dembélé caught the eye of scouts from all of Europe’s elite clubs. But Dortmund moved quickly to sign him, fending off interest from Bayern as well as from the Premier League.

Able to play on either flank or centrally as a number 10, Dembélé’s eye for a defence-splitting pass and ability to shoot powerfully and accurately with either foot, mark him out as one of the continent’s brightest talents. Former Manchester United defender turned Rennes presidential advisor, Mikaël Silvestre, has likened Dembélé to a young Cristiano Ronaldo, and tipped the teenager to be a future Ballon d’Or contender.

And the Yellow and Blacks haven’t closed their chequebook yet, with the confirmation today that former star Mario Götze has returned from an unsuccessful spell at Bayern and rumours of a move for André Schürrle gathering pace.

The options for how Tuchel will line his side up next season are almost endless, but a 4-3-3 starting Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Bartra, Guerrero – Kagawa, Weigl, Castro – Dembélé, Aubamayang, Reus, would serve the 42-year-old German coach very well. A place for the likes of Mor, Merino and Rode can be found on a rotational basis, and Götze (and potentially Schürrle if signed), can easily slot into the front three.

Despite the loss of some key players, Dortmund fans can rest assured that Tuchel will be able to keep them nipping at Bayern’s heels in the title race.

And, having held on to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Marco Reus, while adding some of the hottest young prospects in the game, there is plenty of reason for excitement at Signal Iduna Park next season.

About the author – Ryan Baldi

Ryan is a Midlands based freelance sports writer specialising in European football. He has been fascinated with the continental game ever since he was presented with his first football kit at the age of 7 years old whilst on holiday in Spain – a Barcelona shirt with ‘Romario 10’ printed on the back. A contributor to numerous footballing websites, Ryan has also covered martial arts for local and national print publications. Ryan’s musings on European football can be found here.

twitter: @RyanBaldiEFB

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